A/N: Thanks for all the reviews on my first chapter. I wrote out most of this one when I was sick last week while waiting for my Tylenol PM to kick in and my fever to break. So I hope it turned out okay. Some reviews asked why Stan and Rachel were arrested. All I can say is keep reading. Please keep in mind as you read that all I know about how U.S. court stuff works is from watching Law and Order and Judging Amy. Oh I did have to report for jury duty one time, but didn't get put on a jury, thank heavens.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, but I think I will hold out for the show to plagiarize my purple monkey idea and then sue for ownership of the show. Is it plagiarism if it's from a typed story to film? Well I guess that it would be in the script first.
A Day at Steve's
Catherine rolled over in Steve's bed stretching her arms out hoping they would land on the Navy SEAL's muscular chest or arm. All she felt in her fingers were the bed sheets. She opened her eyes seeing the morning sun come through the window. She half remembered Steve getting a phone call and telling her that he would be back. Until this point she thought she had dreamed it.
Cath climbed out of the bed and found Steve's bathrobe. She came out of the room and down the stairs. Relieved she saw the back of Steve's head leaning against the top of the chair. Why had he not come back upstairs? Her silent question was partly answered when she looked over at the couch. Danny was laying in the fetal position asleep. His daughter Grace was pressed up against him. Danny had one arm around Grace's stomach and the other was sticking out in mid air from underneath her head. Both were fast asleep.
Catherine approached Steve's chair. She saw Grace clutching to a purple stuffed monkey. The three were quite a sight on the couch all tucked up against one another. Steve was snoring lightly in the chair.
Catherine leaned down and pressed her lips to his. Steve inhaled deeply and returned the kiss. As she pulled away she saw his eyes were now open.
"Good morning," he whispered as he stretched his arms.
"What happened?" Catherine asked pointing at the sleeping detective and his daughter.
"I didn't want him to sneak out," Steve answered as he remembered back to a few hours earlier.
Steve had helped Danny get Grace out of the car. Danny had carefully handed her to him through the driver's side door. Steve adjusted the exhausted girl so her head was resting on his shoulder. He then immediately turned toward the house not giving Danny the chance to get out and take Grace back. Danny had no choice, but to follow Steve into the house. Not only did Steve have his kid, but also his car keys. Danny started walking. He saw the reflection of the headlights flashing on the house as the Steve used the remote to lock the car. The detective reluctantly entered the house.
"Steve, come on be reasonable. . . I know this is inconvenient for you." Danny whispered as he closed the door.
He was referring to the sleeping woman upstairs. Steve ignored him.
"You gonna give me my kid?" Danny asked.
"Not till you go and lay on the couch," Steve answered.
Giving Steve an annoyed glare Danny kicked off his shoes, set his cell phone on the coffee table, and laid down.
"I can take her upstairs and put her in bed with Catherine. I know she wouldn't mind."
"No, it might scare Grace when she wakes up. I want her to know I am here with her," the detective answered after he thought the offer over.
Danny scooted as far back as he could and pointed to the small space in front of him. Steve carefully laid Grace down. The purple monkey fell to the floor. Danny wrapped his arms around Grace while Steve picked up the animal and put it back in the little girl's arms. He then went and sat in his chair.
Steve looked up at Cath, saw the confused look on her face, and pointed his head in the direction of the kitchen so they could talk without waking up Danny and Grace. Steve started pulling out materials to start some coffee. He filled Catherine in on what had happened when he left last night. Catherine listened in silence as she pulled clean cups from the cupboard. She couldn't help feeling sad for Grace. The naval woman had enjoyed the few times she had spent with Danny's daughter. She was a sweet child and didn't deserve to go through something like this. Steve also told Catherine about what he had learned about Rachel and Stan being arrested.
"Can they do that?" Catherine asked, "I mean HPD doesn't even know if they were even involved."
Steve shrugged his shoulders.
"I don't know, but we are going to find out."
"Poor Danny, you do realize he's going to go ballistic when he finds out. I think you should hide his gun. . .and his credit card."
Steve took a sip from his mug.
The pair peaked into the living room. Danny was no longer asleep. His body hadn't moved, but his eyes were keeping watch over his sleeping child. Sensing that he was being watched his gaze veered to the kitchen door. Quietly Steve brought his coffee back to his chair and sat down. Catherine lingered with hers in the doorway.
Danny remembered Steve sitting down in the chair when he and Grace had settled onto the couch.
"Enjoying the show?" Danny had said quietly.
"Just don't want you to sneak out partner," Steve whispered.
Danny wasn't going to admit that before he had laid down on the couch the thought had crossed his mind. Danny rolled his eyes and rested his head against the arm. Within minutes he was as asleep. Steve's last thought as he closed his eyes was that maybe he should go upstairs to join Catherine.
Although Danny was now awake he looked like he could use a few more hours of sleep.
"What time is it?" he asked.
Steve pulled his phone from his pocket.
"Crap, I've got to call Grace's school and tell them she won't be there today. Oh and by the way I'm taking a personal day."
Danny carefully sat up laying Grace gently onto the couch. She stirred a bit, but did not wake up. Danny stood up and picked up his phone off the coffee table.
"Watch her," he said pointing to Grace as he stepped into the other room.
It only took Danny a few moments to call and be back in the room. He let out a big yawn as he came back into sight.
"Why don't you take Grace upstairs? She'll be more comfortable and you look like you could use some more sleep."
Danny had lost his will to argue. More sleep in a larger space sounded wonderful. He picked up Grace, monkey and all, and climbed the stairs heading to Steve's room.
Danny fought against the awkward feeling of sleeping in the same bed that his partner usually slept in. It was bad enough that people were always asking him and Steve how long they had been married. All uncomfortable feelings disappeared as he laid Grace on one side and then climbed in beside her. Even though they had more space Danny felt Grace snuggle right up next to him. It wasn't long before he was once again out.
Steve and Catherine tried to be as quiet as possible as they prepared to go for a morning run. Steve called Chin and Kono to tell them that he and Danny would not be in that day and told them what had happened the night before. Both said they would see if they could find out any more information.
An hour later Steve and Catherine returned from that morning's exercise. Danny and Grace showed no signs of waking up. The couple continued to be quiet while making breakfast. Steve thought the smell of the food would maybe bring Danny down the stairs, but it didn't.
Steve was even able to sneak into his room and retrieve a change of clothes before showering. He couldn't help, but smile upon seeing Grace snuggled up next to Danny. Despite everything that had happened last night Danny almost looked peaceful.
After his 3 minute shower Steve got on the phone with Chin and Kono to see what they had learned. 5-0 reached out to HPD to help piece some things together. One thing that was definitely clear was that Stan and Rachel Edwards were not going to be getting out of jail any time soon. The more Steve learned the more anxious he grew at the thought of having to tell all this to Danny.
Around noon Steve and Catherine started making lunch. Steve was a little worried that Grace and Danny hadn't come down yet. Quietly, he climbed the stairs and entered his room.
"Danny," he whispered shaking his shoulder, " Danny."
Danny moaned and turned his head looking into his partner's face.
"Go away," Danny mumbled pushing his face into the pillow.
"Come on. Are you two going to sleep all day?"
The detective's blond head nodded up and down.
"You're going to get yours and Grace's days and nights mixed up."
"Have you no respect for the dead, man" Danny sarcastically replied.
"You're not dead," Steve said getting irritated with his partner, "I'm not leaving til you get up."
"Grace?" Danny mumbled shaking her a little, "Grace."
"Huh," came her half coherent response.
"Steve is being a big meanie and says we have to get up," Danny stated.
The detective's eyes had closed again.
"Lunch is almost ready," Steve coaxed.
As if on cue both stomachs growled from the lack of breakfast.
"Come on, Monkey," Danny said opening his eyes and sitting up pulling Grace with him.
The three came down the stairs. Danny went out to his car to get Grace's suitcase.
Around one o'clock earlier that morning he and Grace had gone up to her room at Stan's house and packed. He had gathered as much as he could fit into the suitcase and found a garment bag to put her school uniforms in. He didn't want them to get wrinkled because his idea of ironing was putting the clothes through an extra dryer cycle. He knew that Rachel had Grace's uniforms dry cleaned and pressed weekly.
Grace followed him out to the car like a little puppy. Danny was going to suggest that she stay in the house with Steve, but thought against it. She had been through enough in the past 14 hours. If she wanted to follow Danny around he wasn't going to stop her.
Steve didn't give up Danny's keys and unlocked the Camaro from the doorway. Danny didn't care besides he could smell food cooking in the kitchen.
Danny and Grace walked back to Steve's with suitcase in tow. Grace picked out an outfit and went off to the bathroom to go change. Danny didn't waste any time and turned to Steve.
"Why were Rachel and Stan arrested?"
Steve knew that Grace would not be in the bathroom long enough for him to tell Danny the whole story. Not to mention the extra time it was going to take to talk him down from the angry rant he knew would be coming.
Steve thought back to Catherine's suggestion that morning. Steve had hidden Danny's gun. But Steve didn't know where his wallet was. He was worried that Danny would probably buy a new gun and shave off the serial numbers so it couldn't be traced back to him.
Steve shook his head.
"I'll tell you after lunch."
Danny shook his head.
"I want to know right now."
The two men heard the door to the bathroom open and little foot steps in the hall.
"It's a long story partner."
Danny nodded his head in understanding, forced back his anger, and put on a happy Daddy face for his daughter.
The four sat down to lunch at the dining room table and ate. Having missed breakfast Grace and Danny were grateful for being fed. Grace had seconds and Danny thirds.
"You know Grace," Catherine said breaking the silence of the meal, "Steve and I saw some really pretty sea shells on our run this morning. I was hoping you would go with me to collect some of them."
Grace smiled and nodded anxious for the activity's distraction.
"Are you coming, Danno?" she questioned looking at her father.
"Of course, but I think Uncle Steve and I should stay back and do the dishes. Don't you think?"
Danny was quick to respond seeing that Cath was going to give him some much needed time with his partner. Grace seemed satisfied with the answer and soon she and Catherine were walking hand and hand to the beach. Danny watched the two girls disappear out of sight. Danny turned to Steve ready to receive some answers.
"I need your wallet," Steve said.
Danny looked at Steve confused by the request.
"I put it in the center consol of my car. Why did you want it?"
Steve took a relieved breath. Danny's keys were tucked safely in his pocket.
"I just don't want you to do anything stupid. You're not going to be happy when you hear what I have to say."
"Wait, I thought you were going to tell me why Stan and Rachel were arrested. What does that have to do with me?"
"Stan and Rachel were arrested because they may have bribed a judge."
"What?. . . a judge?. . . what to do you mean? . . . the only times they've been to court was for the custo-"
Danny trailed off midsentence as he put everything together. The only times Danny knew of was when they were dealing with the divorce and over custody when Rachel wanted to move Grace to Hawaii.
"I assume you know the name Judge Harmon Brindale."
Danny knew the name alright. That was the judge that had allowed the move. He was the one who ruled that Danny would have visitation twice a week giving Rachel full power to do what she wanted and to come up with the visitation schedule.
Danny stared at Steve remembering that awful day. It had felt like his heart was being pulled from his chest. The thought of someone telling him when he could and couldn't see his daughter was unbearable. The thought of her moving so far away was worse and made his stomach churn. But what could he do? He was an officer of the law. He had no choice, but to uphold the judge's decision. Needless to say that he put in for a transfer to Hawaii that same day.
"Are you telling me that Stan and Rachel bribed that judge, and that's why he made the ruling that he did?" Danny said his voice rising.
He thought about the last three plus years. All the time that had been denied him because of the judge's ruling. Danny's face began to feel hot as his anger filled his insides.
Steve had seen Danny like this before. He was a volcano about to explode.
"They don't know yet. HPD at the request of authorities in New Jersey are looking into it. They know that the bribe money passed through Stan's lawyers, but not sure who made the decision," Steve answered.
Danny took a few deep furious breaths. He wasn't sure who he wanted to kill first Judge Brindale, Stan's high priced lawyers, or Stan and Rachel. Danny stood up pushing his chair back and almost knocking it over.
"Danny," Steve said getting up and preparing to restrain his partner if necessary, "Your gun has been put in a safe place til you calm down and you won't be getting into you car either to get your wallet."
Danny was shocked at Steve's preparation for this conversation. How had he known that he would want his gun to impulsively shoot someone and his credit card to buy a ticket to Jersey to have a "chat" with Judge Brindale.
"Sit down and listen, because there's more. You and Grace aren't the only ones affected by all this."
Steve now had Danny's attention. The detective pulled his chair back up to the table, sat down, and took a few more deep breaths. Steve waited a moment before he continued.
"Apparently, Judge Brindale has been taking bribes for the last five or so years. It started small. He had a custody case where he was offered a bribe for his decision. It was easy to do and all parties got away with it. It blossomed from there. He had access to all sorts of information about the parents he was dealing with, including financial records. He knew which parents had money and in some custody situations will do anything to win the case. By the time your case came along they pretty much had their system down. He was paying one of the people who puts together court schedules to make sure he had high end cases. Usually one parent having more money than the other. Either the judge would approach the lawyers about the bribe or go directly to the parents. Some cases it was the lawyer who made the decision, sometimes the parent, and occasionally both. Brindale also didn't do it on all of his cases. He used his skills in reading people to figure out who he could approach for a bribe and who he couldn't."
"What changed? He got away with this for years. How did he get caught?" Danny interrupted.
"Well apparently the last case he was presiding over both parents came from large amounts of money and he had them essentially bidding for their kids' custody. And it backfired. It sounds like he finally got cocky about getting away it for so long. The parents figured out what was going on and went to the police. That had been enough to open up an investigation. Once they pulled the judge's financial records they knew this was not the first time this had been done. I believe he was arrested on his way into court. Apparently he sang like a bird and decided he wasn't going down alone. The DAs and investigators in New Jersey have been overloaded with finding anyone who had been affected by this. People have been arrested left and right. Kids have been going into protective custody and foster care. There are some cases like yours where one parent was given permission to take the child out of state or even out of the country. It apparently made National News. Guess we missed that report."
Danny nodded his head in agreement, but he was in shock and still trying to take in everything Steve had said.
"So not only were Rachel and Stan arrested, but their lawyers too. So they are without counsel right now. They were offered the services of an attorney, but sounds like they turned it down. Guess they want to find their own, but I don't know how the hell they are going to do that from behind bars. Like I said HPD has been asked to conduct the investigation since this is where they live."
"Why wasn't I called beforehand?" Danny asked, "Huh?"
"Chin and Kono asked that same question this morning," Steve said, "They said HPD was contacted yesterday around 8:00 p.m. Their main focus was to track down Stan and Rachel and considering officers were knocking on their door at 10:00 there just wasn't time."
"Whoa hold on 8:00 p.m. here is 2:00 a.m. in Jersey."
"Too big of a work load to fit into normal work hours."
"Why last night? Why didn't they wait til morning? It scared Grace half to death. She didn't need to see all that."
Steve nodded remembering how upset she had been.
"They found out that Stan was leaving the country early this morning. They didn't know that he often traveled on business. They didn't pull any background information on him. They assumed he had been tipped off and was fleeing the country and although there was no proof of it assumed that Rachel, Charlie, and Grace would be following soon."
"I need a beer," Danny whimpered pressing his face into his hands.
Steve nodded and disappeared into his kitchen. Steve thought Danny was taking all of the news pretty well. Yes, he was upset, but that was to be expected. Steve was glad that Danny hadn't tried to tackle him to get his car keys back. He knew Danny was a good hand to hand fighter even if he did favor his gun while working. Danny had seen Steve in action seeing his fighting techniques, but he hadn't seen all the SEAL could do. Steve grabbed two bottles from his fridge and went back to the table.
Danny still had his face in his hands. Gratefully he took the beer and started guzzling it. Steve watched him drink. It was apparent that Danny wasn't going to put the bottle down until its contents were gone. Although Steve had intended on having the second one he thought his partner might need it more.
Steve offered him the second bottle as Danny pulled the empty one away from his lips. He took long hard deep breaths and shook his head refusing the second drink.
Steve sat back down, opened his bottle, and took a drink. Danny returned his face to his hands. Steve wasn't sure what more he could do to help his partner.
At that same moment Danny's cell phone rang. It was still on the coffee table in the living room. Danny didn't move to go get it so Steve did. Danny heard him answer it. In a moment Steve was back shoving the phone into his unwilling fingers.
"It's your lawyer," Steve said before Danny could refuse. That seemed to bring Danny out of his funk. Something in his brain switched back on as he listened to what his attorney had to say.
"Sorry," Danny said after listening for a few moments, "Yes I know. . . I picked her up last night. . . . as far as I know. . . .What?. . . .When?. . . .This Thursday?. . .Yes. . .Yes I will be there. . .No I won't bring Grace. . .Will Rachel be there?. . .Alright. . . .Thank you. . . .Bye."
Although Steve had been close by he hadn't heard the other end of the short conversation.
"What's going on Danny? What's happening on Thursday?" he asked wanting to be kept in the loop.
"Huh?" Danny had let his thoughts drift as the call ended.
He had almost forgotten that Steve was standing right next to him. Steve stared at his partner waiting for answers.
"There's a. . .uh. . .a custody hearing," he stammered still not believing it himself.
Steve actually wasn't too surprised. He had also learned from Chin and Kono that morning that the same thing was happening in Jersey, but on a much larger scale. Other cases were getting bumped and rescheduled so they could try and fix the messes that Judge Brindale had caused. Mostly because the city and state did not want to be sued by angry parents. As far as Steve knew the Williams/Edwards case was the only one that Hawaii had to deal with, but like the others it was asked that it receive high priority. Other states had been asked to cooperate as well.
Steve put a hand on Danny's shoulder.
"Hey man you do what you need to and the rest of us are behind you 100%," Steve said.
Danny looked up at his partner.
"Thanks," was all he managed to whisper.
Danny stood up his gaze looking passed the glass door and to where Cath and Grace had disappeared. Steve knew what Danny wanted.
"Go, I'll clean up," he said as he started gathering the dishes.
Danny ran out the door and down into the sand. His feet were bare and he felt the cool grains between his toes as he scanned the waterfront for the girls. He could see them a little ways down. Cath must have been encouraging Grace to move fast not wanting her to hear any yelling or cursing that could have come from Steve's house when Danny found everything out.
Danny took off in a dead run after them. His mind was racing as fast as his feet. He didn't want to get his hopes up. That had happened before. He had thought he had a solid, no contest, the first time. He mentally kicked himself. That had not been his fault. Grace had been wrongfully taken away to this pineapple infested hell hole. It had been a long time since he had used the nick name. He was just beginning to think that this place was almost home, and now this giant kiss in the teeth.
Grace and Catherine were only a few feet away. He almost called out to them, but decided that Grace needed to see him in a playful mood. He needed to see himself in a playful mood. He should be happy. His daughter was with him on a nonvisitation day, and if things went the way he thought they would on Thursday their time together would increase.
Grace was so busy scanning the wet sand for shells that neither, she nor Catherine heard Danny approach. The navy woman felt Grace's hand suddenly pulled out of hers as well as hearing a surprised shriek from Grace.
Catherine turned ready to high kick whoever had grabbed the child away. She quickly backed down upon seeing Danny holding onto his daughter. He had hoisted her off her feet and had her trapped tickling her most relentlessly. Grace was giggling uncontrollably.
Grace's struggles eventually knocked him to the ground. Danny could feel the moisture from the wet sand seeping into the fabric of his pants, but he ignored it keeping Grace prisoner. Finally he stopped, but Grace kept laughing. It took her a moment more to calm down. As she did her eyes locked with Danny's. As angry as he felt with Rachel, and everyone else he knew this moment on the beach would not have been possible without it.
Grace reached up wrapping her arms around his neck. Danny returned it eagerly. Catherine was starting to feeling like the third wheel and was about to excuse herself.
"Where's Uncle Steve?" Grace asked.
"Finishing the dishes. I cleared. He's washing," Danny lied.
Well, it was half true. Steve was washing.
"I think I'll go help him, and I can get a bag for the shells. You two can keep looking," Catherine said as she started back to the house.
Grace pulled back from Danny's neck, but he kept his arms loosely on her back. She leaned in and kissed his cheek. Danny kissed her back as she pulled away. He was sure that they must have looked like quite a sight sitting on the sand.
"Is Mommy going to come get me?" Grace asked.
The mood suddenly changed as Danny thought about everything he had learned in the last half hour. He was not going to be giving her all the details.
"No, monkey, the police still need to talk to her."
"Is Mommy a bad guy? Did she do something bad?"
The tone of her voice broke his heart. As angry as he was with his ex wife he wasn't going to bad mouth her to his daughter.
"I don't know, baby, I just don't know."
A/N: Just before the start of season 3 the following question came to my head. "Why does Danny only have visitation?" He seems like a loving and attentive father. Nowadays if both parents are willing and able wouldn't they be given joint custody of their child? It seemed to me that something must have happened to give him only visitation. BOOM! This story was born. Please review and tell me what you think. Not to mention that I am too impatient of a person to wait and see what the writers come up with about the custody thing. It was mentioned once in Ep. 1 and hinted at in Ep. 6. Come on, all of the other loose ends from the Season 2 finale were mostly taken care already. Why not this one? Thanks for reading my story and rant.